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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

HISTORY   AND    HUMAN   RELATIONS

fifteenth century. It seems to me that we must agree
with this view, for the Renaissance did not add a new
ingredient to our Western civilisation in the way that jthe
historical movement of the nineteenth century was -able
to do.

The twentieth century has not been so happy for the
historical sciences, and these sciences are gravely injured
by two things which have turned out to be the great
plagues of our time—namely, wars and revolutions. In
all countries the very interest that governments have
come to have in history-^-government patronage of
historical study—has proved to carry with it hidden
dangers. The very popularity of history amongst new
classes of people (who are sometimes lazy readers, some-
times unaware of the necessity for the older critical
canons, and sometimes unconscious of the way in which
wished thinking operates in the study of history) has
produced many new embarrassments, especially in a
world where men have"1 learned how powerful history can
be for purposes of propaganda. The establishment of
many new nation-states since 1918 has also proved to be
not always a good fortune for historical study in Europe,
New nations are particularly sensitive about their
historical past, particularly jingoistic in their national
pride. And it seems that small nations, especially if they
are new nations too, are liable to be more intense and
local in their prejudices—they are sometimes -more
narrowly self-concentrated than the greater ones. It is
going to need a harder struggle everywhere to keep up
the standards of academic scholarship in future than it
did before 1914*

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